This morning I had a light breakfast, to save room for our traditional Bavarian breakfast we were having later. We hopped on the bus and got off at what seemed like a barn in a little village. We had traditional weißwurst with pretzels and mustard. Luckily, I already knew how to eat weißwurst from when we went to Hofbräuhaus, making sure to remove the sausage from the casing before you eat it. Most of us ate our breakfast with apfelschorle, basically carbonated apple juice. I wanted to buy some of the mustard, but the line was long and we had to get back on the road. Before we got to the famed Neuschwanstein castle, we stopped at the Wieskirche, a grand church in the rococo style. The level of detail on the decorations was impressive, and I really liked the colored marble columns that lined the apse.
After we walked around the church, we went outside to appreciate the view of the rolling hills of farmland and forest. Apparently, there is a donut shop that usually sells fresh donuts, but tragically they weren’t open while we were there. After trying to figure out if one of the cows in the field was dead or just sleeping (it was just sleeping), and getting water, we were back on the bus to Schwangau.
Eventually, after passing through a lot of flat farmland, we could see the palace in the distance, and as we got closer we could see the Hohenschwangau Castle, where Ludwig II grew up before commissioning Neuschwanstein, among other palaces. According to Dr. Feick’s bus lecture, later confirmed by the tour, Ludwig II used family funds to construct three castles, with the intention of building more before his death.
We got off the bus with sandwiches, apples and German candy, and after a quick break to eat, we walked towards a nearby lake. We had some time before we had to walk up to the castle, so a bunch of us walked along part of the lake, stopping to skip stones, or at least attempt to skip stones. Soon it was time for the long walk up to the castle.
There was enough curving in the road to keep it from being too steep, but you had to watch your step that you didn’t stick your shoe in a gift left behind by one of the horses that pulled carriages up the mountain. The hike was well worth it even just for the view of the land below one side of the mountain, and the Alps rising above it on the other side.
We had enough time for some group pictures and to browse the souvenir shop before we went up one more little hill to the entrance of the castle.
When Dr. Feick told us the tour was twenty minutes, I thought he was exaggerating in how short it was, but I’d be surprised if we were in there for longer than twenty or thirty minutes. We weren’t allowed to take photos inside, which is pretty outrageous if you ask me, but luckily, I remember what I found interesting about what we saw.
The first room we really went to was Throne hall, which like the Wieskirche, had some really nice marble columns surrounding the room. The chandeliers were in the shape of crowns, and the floor was an intricate mosaic of various animals. It took me a second to figure out, but I noticed that the area marked off for tours to walk on was actually just a mat with the mosaic design printed on it, and beyond the rope you could see the actual mosaic. We passed the study and dining rooms to get to the bedroom, where the decorative bedframe was reminiscent of an intricate cathedral.
We passed through a few more rooms, including an artificial grotto, which was very unexpected, and a cute little sunroom with an unbelievable view. After passing through not one, but two gift shops, we were done with the tour and out of the castle. After a bit more of a hike, we reached a bridge that spanned a chasm with a breathtaking view of the castle on one side, and the Alps on another. At this moment I was especially glad I brought my film camera, and can’t wait to get the photos developed!
Eventually, after soaking in the view and taking an immense amount of photos, we walked back down the hill to the bus. Before we began the trip back to Augsburg, we stopped in Füssen, just a few minutes past Neuschwanstein, where we had some free time to wander. Most of us beelined to the nearest gelato shop, where I got a scoop of coconut and a scoop of dark chocolate. We wandered up and down this little shopping district, and tried to plan who was taking the train where and when for our free day tomorrow. Eventually it was time to take the bus back to Augsburg, where plenty of naps were taken.
After chilling in the hotel for a bit, a few of us went out for döner (yes, again), to the same place Maxi had taken us a few days ago. I did a little blog writing, before falling asleep after a long day.
Today’s sign of the day is a “no ice cream allowed!!!” sign. Its location at a store right across from the gelato shop suggests there had been some gelato-related accidents inside, making the store owners force gelato lovers to window shop only.